Objectives: To consider the impact of rapid health technology
assessments undertaken as part of a program in a provincial healthcare
system in response to urgent requests for advice.
Methods: Review of the development and preparation of 20 rapid assessment
reports, communication with decision makers within the healthcare
system, and appraisal of data subsequent to preparation of the
Results: Fourteen of the assessments were judged to have
had an influence on policy and other decisions, as judged by
responses from those who had requested advice. Another four were
considered to have provided guidance, while having less immediate
influence on decisions, and two others had no apparent impact.
Quality of the assessments was considered acceptable, on the basis of
literature that subsequently became available and from comments
Conclusions: These brief reports are considered to be a
useful component of a health technology assessment program. However,
they should be regarded as provisional appraisals and followed up
with more detailed evaluation where possible.